Whilst Hollywood was well into its Golden Era, World War II may have caused many privations but it didn’t stop films being made. Indeed, all sides saw cinema as an opportunity to spread their message and rally their citizens. The Third Reich was no exception. They saw what was going on in America and were determined to rival and even best them. Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels was placed in charge of making Germany’s ‘Dream Factory’.
To quote Winston Churchill, “History is written by the victors”, and this is especially true when it comes to cinema. Hitler’s Hollywood, the new documentary from Rüdiger Suchsland, invites us into an unknown world. The Third Reich was not content with just making propaganda, they were determined to make ‘great cinema’. Over a thousand films were made between 1933 and 1945. Screwball comedies and opulent musicals rubbed shoulders with lavish fantasies and tearful melodramas.
Narrated by Udo Kier, Hitler’s Hollywood is a fascinating journey down the rabbit-hole of a strange Germanic world of athletic perfection, patriotic ‘volk’ and opulent productions. Whilst Goebbels may have been frustrated by the emigration of major stars, that didn’t stop him trying to find ‘home-grown’ replacements. As the war slowly turned against the Nazis, their output became more and more fantastical. Suchsland has created an important film which documents a strange time in the history of world cinema through the lens of authoritarianism and dictatorship.
- Option of the original German language version with optional English subtitles OR with English language narration by Udo Kier
- From Caligari to Hitler: German Cinema in the Age of the Masses – Director Rüdger Suchsland’s 2014 documentary on the social and cultural impact of German Cinema during the Weimar Republic (1918-1933)
Hitler’s Hollywood is released on dual format DVD and Blu-ray by Eureka Entertainment as part of their Masters of Cinema collection on 5 November.